CECP – Nigeria shall standardize, monitor, and evaluate the Corporate social investment of its partner organizations and provide feedback.

The maiden edition of the environmental scan on Giving in Nigeria (GIN) conducted by CECP-Nigeria was sponsored by the Ford Foundation.


The Ford Foundation is one of the the largest philanthropy in the world. It is an international philanthropy that believes in the inherent dignity of all people. Ford Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of human welfare by reducing poverty and injustice, strengthening democratic values, promoting international cooperation, and advancing human achievement.


The environmental scan was carried out in 11 States of Nigeria and Abuja (Federal Capital Territory), in order to determine the baseline practice of Corporate Giving in Nigeria.

The cities covered in the survey include: Abuja, Ilorin, Kaduna, Kano, Aba, Enugu, Nnewi, Onitsha, Ibadan, Lagos, Benin city, Port Harcourt and Warri.

A quantitative research design was adopted for the survey. Two way random sampling procedure and purposive sampling technique were employed in selection of respondents. Target participants include: corporate giving officers, employees and beneficiaries. 

In all, 1,131 corporate giving officers and 249 employees were interviewed from the companies. One hundred and five (105) selected beneficiaries (individuals, NGO and foundations) were also interviewed independently, giving a total of 1,485 interviews.

The findings from this study revealed that a majority of companies in the study population (56%) carried out Corporate Giving, with Lagos having the peak performance (66%) and Ibadan the least performance (29%). However, only 25% of these organizations engaged in philanthropic activity in the previous year.

The major focal areas of corporate giving in the study population, include: education (25%), economic empowerment programme (17%), humanity and welfare (17%) as well as community development (12%).

Most of the Philanthropic giving in the preceding year was done by direct cash donation (36%) while 29% was through fund-raising. However, close to half of the sample (47%) gave less than fifty thousand naira (N 50,000) at a time. Only 1% gave more than three million naira (N 3,000,000)

This shows that although Nigerians may have philanthropic disposition, one would be hard – pressed to find any Nigerian individual or organization that is willing to invest in the community in a scale that is significant enough to tackle the numerous challenges that Nigerians are faced with.

Given the scale of social problems in our country, philanthropic resources may seem like a drop in the ocean. Yet, in spite of this, philanthropy is uniquely positioned to play a critical role in catalyzing large-scale social change in Nigeria.

Clearly, there is need for Nigerian businesses to adopt more strategic and synergistic approaches, in order to achieve significant societal impact with the available scarce resources. Thus reducing the current social inequities and improving societal inclusiveness.


The evolution towards catalytic philanthropy in Nigeria can be addressed in an eight – fold dimension:

First, Nigerian philanthropy can more meaningfully contribute to helping solve the country’s enormous social problems if more big time donors would shift from traditional charitable approaches (“giving back”) towards more catalytic ones (“solving social problems”). Nigerian philanthropists should recognize that no single organization can solve society’s most challenging social problems alone. This will require moving away from the current focus on passive grant-making or operating solely owned programmes to taking the lead in facilitating collective multi-sectoral efforts. The most valuable contribution donors can make to advance significant societal change is to extend their practice of philanthropy beyond financial gifts and volunteered time to also leveraging non-financial resources such as their clout, connections, business know-how, and political sagacity to create systems-level change across sectors in support of the cause.

Second, a broader set of critical social issues should be considered for primary funding focus such as poverty alleviation, maternal and child mortality, malnutrition, common diseases like cancer, malaria, Tuberculosis and diarrhoea, as well as environmental sustainability. The roots of these problems should be addressed rather than their symptoms. This can be facilitated by increasing the availability of support services that can provide donors with research and information as well as identification of effective non-profit partners to implement the work on the ground.

Third, the issue of social sector professionalization needs to be urgently addressed by building the human resource and administrative capacity of NGOs. The traditional donor mindset of minimizing “overhead” expenses had led to the starvation of organizational and professional capacity in NGOs. Nigerian philanthropists should look beyond the typical funding given for scaling of programmes, to also fund scaling of organizational capacities such as human capital, leadership and governance, strategic and business planning, financial and sustainability projections, IT and physical infrastructure, as well as monitoring and evaluation. Simultaneously, NGOs have to embrace the practice of transparency and accountability, and build capacities in the above-mentioned areas, in order to engender donor confidence.

Fourth, catalytic philanthropists should be pro-active in seeking out effective and experienced NGOs in their specific fields of interest, rather than merely supporting only those that bring in proposals. There is the paradox that very often it is the most committed and hard-working NGOs that have the least spare time and resources to write elaborate proposals and to seek out and follow-up potential donors.

Fifth, catalytic philanthropists should measure the success of their social investment and learn, continuously. They should understand that transformative social change takes time and be patient and conscious that there is need to put aside the “corporate mindset” that insists on quick, short term results. They should however, be zealous about rigorously measuring performance and interim outcomes towards ultimate impact so they can continuously learn what works and what doesn’t. They are also proactive about using the learning to refine and improve their strategies on a continuous basis

According to the CECP – USA GIN 2015, this approach is known as Success Metric. Once a company determines strategic cause areas, it should set corresponding goals that outline its social objectives. The companies should then note its progress towards these goals. There is a wide variety of content and sophistication in success metrics, starting with necessary output indicators like the number of lives reached, advancing to metrics which indicate social impact.

It is important to consider best practices when expanding evaluation practices. For example, greater success is produced when companies work with non-profit partners to set evaluation goals at the beginning of new partnerships, continually incorporate feedback from non-profit partners, and set evaluation requirements that match the size and duration of grant.

Companies should also move towards tracking internal success metrics, such as those related to employee participation. One strategy to increase business results measurement, including volunteering, could be to invite other departments (e.g. human resources) to assist with tracking and reporting on the business results of societal investments.

Communicating a program’s social impact can deliver increased customer loyalty, higher employee engagement, stronger relationships with influencers and regulators, and help to identify potential programmatic partners.

Sixth, Nigerian philanthropists can accelerate their effectiveness by increasing the sharing of meaningful impact data and philanthropic practices with peer donors locally and globally. In the US and Europe, such engagement is enabled by associations such as Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy – USA, the European Foundation Centre, Council on Foundations, Grantmakers for Effective Organizations. The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP-Nigeria) could be enabled to create similar platforms for cross-fertilization among donors in Nigeria and across the world and serve to accelerate philanthropic advancement.

Seventh, there is the need to build volunteerism into the Nigerian educational system and workplace. Formal education is not an end in itself but a tool for service; the best way to teach this fundamental truth is to make the practice of volunteerism part of the syllabus of Nigerian schools at all levels. For example, a student in a university should be required to carry out a certain amount of volunteer work as part of his or her continuous assessment. Likewise, the practice of volunteerism as part of corporate culture (as, for example, MTN’s ’21 days of care’) should be adopted by all companies in Nigeria. However, instead of one-off or episodic campaigns, companies should encourage their employees to become long-term or life-long supporters of causes. This commitment would see more Nigerian companies creating policies that encourage, reward and pay for the time that their workers devote to being on the boards of non-profits, giving pro-bono professional services, and joining in fund- raising campaigns for non-profits.

Finally, catalytic philanthropy requires donor-friendly government policies. Changes to several existing policies could serve to remove barriers to giving in Nigeria. These include the current limited / lack of tax rebate on charitable contributions. The Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, the Nigerian Bar Association working hand in hand with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, could form a tripartite think-tank / committee to formulate a tax system that would encourage strategic philanthropy in Nigeria.

Philanthropy is indeed a powerful tool for social development, but only when donors make it so. While applauding Nigeria’s largest givers for continuing to step-up their philanthropy in volume and impact, we appeal that they adopt catalytic practices so that Nigeria can rapidly transform into a more humane and equitable society. However, it is not only the large budget givers that have a role to play. Virtually every Nigerian can imbibe and practice the ideals of catalytic philanthropy.


“You do not need to be the chair of a large foundation to have an impact on the world. Risk takers need backers. Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates. And whether your chief resource is volunteer time or hard-earned dollars, for a relatively small investment catalytic philanthropy can make a big impact”.

Bill Gates,

“Be the change you desire to see”.

– Mahatma Ghandi

When referencing findings from this report, please list the source as:

CECP-Nigeria, in association with Ford Foundation. Giving In Nigeria – An Environmental Scan: First Edition.

2 Responses

  1. hi,all

    I want to really commend the initiator of this great movement against cancer. I believe this is the way we should go in this nation if indeed we want to solve the problem of cancer and indeed every other challenges we are facing. we can not wait for government. we need to be proactive. kudos to all that are already committed to this cause.

    I will love to know how I can be a part of this, I am presently a PHD student at the university of lagos with research interest in CANCER.
    your response will be highly appreciated.

    Thank you.

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